Government sets aside £70m for infrastructure

Charities are to receive £70 million from the Government as part of the Active Community Unit's review of voluntary sector infrastructure.

Lord Filkin, Home Office minister for the sector, said last week that the funding will be allocated after July, when the review is due to be published for consultation.

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Filkin also indicated that the review was questioning government funding of voluntary sector umbrella bodies.

"Nobody has the right to a cheque," he said. "It must be pretty clear that if we are to give £10,000 or £100,000 to an intermediary body they are going to have to be able to deliver more than if we give it direct to a voluntary organisation. If it isn't we might as well give it direct to front-line organisations."

The Government has indicated that the majority of the £70 million, which will implement the Active Community Unit's capacity-building and infrastructure strategy, will be targeted locally.

Dianne Leyland, director of development at the National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service, accepted umbrella groups were under pressure to justify being funded. "We are aware that the focus of the strategy will be on outcomes rather than organisations," she said.

"The Treasury's cross-cutting review clearly established the need for a consistent baseline of voluntary sector infrastructure across England to enable front-line organisations to deliver.

"We're looking forward to the consultation document, which will set out the Active Community Unit's proposals for a transformation of the current infrastructure."

John Knight, head of external affairs at Leonard Cheshire, welcomed the financial commitment. "It's much more than I thought it would be," he said.

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